Candidate for Ward Councilor, Ward 6
Campaign Website: http://www.brendafornewton.com
Brenda Noel has served as the Ward 6 Councilor since 2018. For 10 years she has lived in the Highlands with her husband, twin 15 year old daughters and her dogs. She is a social worker by training and is currently the Exec Dir of NWW Committee that services individuals with disabilities.
Questions and Answers
Question 1: Discuss an experience where you made a decision that you now regret.
I tend to not live my life with regret per se, I have made mistakes for sure, but I tend to work hard to fix my mistakes, apologize and move on. If I had to consider something that I still have lingering feelings of regret it would have to do with parenting. This past year I trusted professionals with important decisions around my child, and I ignored my gut. I regret this decision because ultimately my instincts were spot on, and my child suffered as a result of me not listening to my gut. This experienced has re-affirmed my commitment to trust myself. Listen to professionals, learn everything I can, and then trust myself.
Question 2: Do you support the proposal to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in Newton by 2050? Why or why not?
Yes-it is an ambitious plan- but Newton is up for the challenge, and the circumstances of climate change as they currently exist are too dire to ignore. With sea levels rising, the earth’s temperature is projected to continue to increase, the artic is melting and the weather patterns are unpredictable and extreme. All of these factors will eventually make the earth uninhabitable, unable to sustain life. The time to act is now.
Question 3: What is your opinion of the current development proposals such as the Northland and Riverside projects?
I can’t comment specifically these projects, they are currently before the Council, but I can tell you how I think about development. My view is based on the reality of the landscape before us. My opponent has yet to share data and analysis to support her position and has mastered the art of creating false choices. The choice of development is not something or nothing, it is something or something. Through the special permit process we need to secure the best possible circumstances for our city, be that traffic mitigation, affordable and workforce housing, insisting upon environmental best practices, and preserving green space.
Question 4: There are a number of expenses that the City needs to grapple with: union contracts still being negotiated, tight school budgets, NewCAL (a new Senior Center), the acquisition of Webster Woods, possible rehabilitation of the Armory, etc. What are your priorities and why?
I continue to grapple with all of the aforementioned priorities. It raises the question, what is the outlook of our revenue streams in relation to our priorities and expenses as a city? Why don’t our teachers have contracts? Why do a significant portion of our unions, our frontline public safety officials, not have a contract? Why can't we afford to maintain our parks? Should we be thinking of how to increase revenue as city? If the approved budget is the document that reflects our priorities, are there areas that we should be spending more on? We are a first class city with promises made to our community that we need to make good on.